Just a Repost From Another Lifetime 

Though it still holds true, at times. 

At some point in my life, I hope to be the greatest at something. I am marginally okay at a lot of things I teach myself, but there’s always that emptiness, the indescribable feeling of coming up short, never enough. Never good enough. I must stop comparing. 

I’ve always felt an ill-consuming indifference in my life though that is not say that I spend a majority of it complaining of such things. Much of my existence has been a good one; an acceptable, tolerable and fair one that I have come to understand. Though I think, curiously, in the back of my mind, this feels like settling. I don’t want to nor do I ever want to feel like “settling”. That isn’t me, not yet, and hopefully not ever. 

I’m terrified that I will never be able to get passed these feelings of monumental doom, these inner demons I’m losing to. The feeling of darkness consuming my every thought. Never good enough. Never.

Welcoming of the New 

Yet again, we start anew. Each day with a purpose of its own, living and breathing and appreciating life in all its spectacles and wonderment, never once looking back to dwell on a regret.

I have a strong outlook for the new year. My greatest goal this year, as it was last year, is to be a better version of myself than I was last year. 

Start new everyday. It is a privilege that I will not take for granted. 

Watch the sunrise and sunset a little longer. I try to capture the transition as much as I possibly can, as there is nothing more beautiful than the changing of colors reflecting off the sky. When I am witnessing pure lightness, it’s akin to seeing a blank canvas becoming a masterpiece. There are no words. 

Friendliness vs Friendship. I struggled a bit in 2016 trying to understand some people. Sometimes my heart didn’t want to accept what is ultimately true and I often mistaken friendliness for friendship even though my intuition warned me otherwise. I suppose I can seem naive but sometimes I feel it is a burden how hyper-aware I am in such situations. I can feel the awkwardness, yet I am unsure how to deal with it. It is like being deer-like in emotional headlights. I am aware, too aware, but somehow not accustomed to dealing with the idea of friendship on such a magnitude that I’ve created for myself. Something I want so much, but for absolutely no logical reason. 

My heart is growing slightly softer as I begin to let go and understand that not everyone has the same intentions as you. When I was in school, I was unpopular and craved friendship so much that it tore me up. It meant i sacrificed my happiness for the sake of others. In doing so, I created a toxic version of myself. I spent too much time analyzing shit that didn’t matter. I spent hours writing in my notebooks, doodling away, and hours trying to understand why I couldn’t be like the other girls – naive, but well liked. In the end, it didn’t really matter. What matters is what you think of yourself and how you want to perceive yourself. 

It is always harder when you are too aware. Something that is a blessing and a curse. This is still something I still struggle with, and something I hope to slowly let go of. 

I sat still in my own emptiness, letting it wash over so that I, too, can begin again. 

When I was in China, I visited a temple on a rainy day.

I was there to admire the beautiful architecture and the peaceful surroundings in an otherwise too-populated city.

Little did I know, I was observing the daily comings and goings of a regular day, with people making a stop to and from their daily lives to meditate, pray and gather. The monks who lived there worked as any worker would, saying hello to people, fixing the lights, sweeping, cooking. This was their home. I felt oddly out of place, yet strangely okay.

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Lessons in Patience

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It’s not even October yet and I feel like I want to live in a different body. One that morphs into a whole new person after the New Year. It’s more of a mental transformation after setting goals/”resolutions”. That fresh new outlook you swear you’d keep.

Two weeks into my new job, and I feel like I’ve scrubbed my brain awash with a new perspective. Things I’d like to improve, things that can be improved and the task of being good at what i do, however difficult or tedious. That, coupled with my reflection on 2016, has been a profound year. I went on trips every month, hiked my way through a ton of nat’l parks, weekend staycations/getaways. Incredible friends. An upcoming Hawaii trip for my milestone birthday and a family trip to Hong Kong, in the same month. Possible Utah road trip in December and Alaska next year to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). I had a complete change of career, moved, and started this blog.

What will 2017 be like, spiritually, personally, and geographically? My favorite advice, taken from all the books I’ve read; the faithful and reliable companions that they are, is to embrace the endless possibilities of the new year.

 

Gratitude List

Yumminess
Yumminess

Summer is close to an end but that means the transition into Fall will be vibrant with falling autumn leaves, warm light and the trickle of breeze that reminds us that seasons are a-changing.

I remind myself to be grateful for things/experiences I’ve had because  I know how fortunate I am. Things I complain about, like the stifling heat, is small in comparison to everything that’s going on in the world. There’s so much more awesomeness that outweighs the summertime sads.

Quietness

Ever since I moved to San Mateo, I live up in what I consider the woodsy area of the city. It’s a bit hilly here, but there are trees and fresh air and space.  My drives are scenic and there’s a great Farmer’s Market just walking distance from mi casa. There’s less city noise and more birds chirping. You would think that i’d sleep better in the quiet but I guess I’m still accustomed to sleeping with the roaring of planes flying overhead and the dull sounds of street traffic. Baby steps 🙂

Sunrises/Sunsets on my balcony  

How beautiful it is to have the sky painted in a canvas of water colors and I get to witness it every morn and evening? One of the best things 🙂

When life gets blurry, adjust your focus
When life gets blurry, adjust your focus

Goals

I am forever trying to be better, evolving, and be a little less insane 😉 Some weekends I go out for adventures in true Jen style which means no downtime. But some weekends, I rest and catch up on sleep I’ve lost. I call it an annual sleep catch up though that’s not how it works. I try to disengage all systems and relax.

Sometimes I will spend some weekends de-cluttering my belongings which proves to be very meditative. I put on some music, enjoy the fresh air coming from my balcony and try to sit quietly instead of running around. I’ve been working on getting centered and living more consciously. Doing an activity for a purpose rather than just doing it for activity’s sake. In that, I have found slightly more peace to an otherwise busy life.

Might seem small and boring, but I am okay with that 🙂

5 Important Things I learned in 2 Years: Life and Finances 

jennifer ngan photography
I used to wonder why people would give up their sense of security to live out in the woods, give up all their possessions to travel the world, and washing dishes for a couch to sleep on.

Then I thought, hey, maybe they don’t want to have a 9-5 slave job, and let the years pass by like in a blink of an eye. Perhaps they want to be nomads and live off the beaten path.

Living minimally seems like a lot of effort when you have things. Things like a large TV, a Netflix subscription, Amazon Prime, smart phones. Though it is true that that those people described above are on the extreme end of the spectrum, it is also quite unrealistic if you have attachments. And when I say attachments, I don’t mean to stuff, I mean to your family, your parents, your friends, your neighbors, your community. There are ways to live consciously without sacrificing all of the comfort we know and love.

In 2015, i embarked on an adventure that i thought would be fun, but I realized it sort of changed my perspective. I got out more, saw more things and appreciated deeply.

Here are some insights I’ve learned along the way

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Writing As a Form of Meditation Through Self Reflection

Sometimes I lose touch with reality from stress. Getting flashbacks from things best stored away. I don't have a "method" to deal with triggers. It just is. I like to say i am above work stress, but I am not. Why does it matter really? It doesn't. In hindsight, some things are out of our control. I just wish my mind and body could agree. But, it is a brand new day... ☀️

There are pens and pencils that litter coffee table. Notepads and sticky notes shoved in every drawer and corner around my desk. Notes on my phone far too plenty, with new things added daily. Phrases i like, buttery rich words, pictures, artwork, lyrical sentences in the abstract nature, verbs, idioms, and sentences in every literary technique. A string of favorite quotes for artistic merit. All of that far too precious to be without.

This mess, if you look hard enough, is evidence of self reflection. It’s all in the trying to fall asleep thing at night, the restlessness, the sometimes-anxiety that comes and goes. The lying awake at night; that turns into midnight stories, short fiction. Creative writings. They are the scattered thoughts and dialogues of someone far too empathetic to let things go. And someone who wants to make sense of it all. Not through logic, no, but through the heart.

Most of my writings is a series of reflections, thoughts and musings. They have all my initials attached in some form or another. Sometimes I write things that resemble the symbol of ugliness but it is a representation of the things I’ve felt, and written in anger or frustration. There are words I’ve written, letters that are laced with scars and heat of the moment observations. The unwavering honesty is what makes the words authentic, true. Though exposed, and the exposure is then what makes a person naked.

In moments like those, it requires strength to emerge from the shadows. Shadows of shame and guilt. To truly recognize those written words, and understand that I am the imperfect person standing, it is recognizing that imperfection is just a side effect of the human condition. In that sense of reflection, it is a humbling realization to acknowledge my flaws before those I want to be the Most Perfect For.

I started journaling since I was in 7th or 8th grade, and continuously kept journals (both paper and online) since. What I realized when I went through more than a decade of old notebooks and writings was that I kept beating myself up for not being good enough, and never being the person that I wanted to be. Maybe it’s the angst of growing up, or it was self reflection.

Sometimes it is a sad thing, the realization. The realization that you are not how you want to see yourself. That you’re better, or your idea of yourself is much better than who you think you actually are. But this is part of the journey and it takes a special lens to see through the distortion. The mess. When there is evidence of reflection, creation, improvement, it is okay to see past it. I learned that writing, in any form, is a form of meditation. It helps with cultivating awareness to your thoughts and actions, seeing things for what they are and being okay with it. Writing it down, structuring those sentences, mapping out the timeline, and simply letting it flow through inertia

And to quote one of my favorites – “Good Luck Exploring the Infinite Abyss”

Goodnight.

Jen Signature

Mind’s Contents vs Consciousness: Meditation and Thoughts

Jennifer Ngan Photography
I tend to be a thinker. Over analytical and often scatterbrained with questions, ideas and sometimes delusions  far-fetched idealism or the opposite of it. This often means i stay up into the wee hours of the night, thinking about things that become a distraction when I should be asleep, deep in slumberville. In the mornings (i actually am a morning AND night person), I tend to wake up fairly early, and go about my day. It’s not always healthy, and I do suffer from self-diagnosed anxiety, which stems from childhood (I guess? Because Carl Jung says so). Which led me to the wildest Friday night ever. Seated (somewhat guided) meditation.

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